Another year of growth for the Aduno Group in 2014
Zurich, 16 April 2015
The Aduno Group, the Swiss specialist for cashless payments, personal credits and leasing, looks back on another successful financial year in 2014. It increased sales in 2014 by 6.4 per cent to CHF 464 million and net profit by 14.6 per cent to CHF 74 million. With equity of CHF 486 million (21.7 per cent equity ratio) the Aduno Group boasts a solid financial foundation to support its future growth.
The Aduno Group conducted business successfully again in 2014. It profited from the positive sentiment among consumers and the growth trend in the Swiss economy, increasing sales from CHF 436 million in 2013 to CHF 464 million. The net profit rose by 14.6 per cent to CHF 74 million, after CHF 65 million the previous year. The equity ratio is 21.7 per cent (CHF 486 million) and thus one per cent higher than in 2013. Total assets of the Aduno Group as of 31 December 2014 amounted to CHF 2,246 million as opposed to CHF 2,139 million one year before.
Martin Huldi, Chief Executive Officer of the Aduno Group, says, “Focusing on our strengths and consistently implementing our strategy paid off for us again in 2014. All key financial figures are substantially above the level they were in the previous year. We are pushing ahead with great momentum on a full pipeline of projects. The lion’s share of our investments is devoted to making existing services even more attractive and to developing future-oriented value-adding products featuring contactless and mobile payment options for our customers. The Aduno Group is and will remain a hale and hardy company that is innovative and highly trusted on the market.”
Substantial rise in the operating result
Thanks to the larger business volume, the operating result climbed to CHF 84 million, a substantial rise of 12 per cent over the previous year. It was a superb performance especially considering the special expenses for the adaption of the Group structure to banking standards and the one-off expenses for the new refinancing structure. The requirements under FATCA (Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act) were implemented in the Payment division during the reporting year. This step entailed considerable administrative and financial expense for the Aduno Group.
Total sales remained highly diversified, as in previous years: 45 per cent of total sales came from commission income, 19 per cent from annual fees, 15 per cent from net interest income, and 21 per cent from other income.
At the end of 2014, there were 1.32 million credit cards from Viseca Card Services SA in circulation (+3.2 per cent). The roll-out of the product packages of partner banks (e.g. credit card in tandem with private account) led to shifts in the income statement.
Payment division with robust growth in Acquiring
Payment is a division comprising two complementary segments: card issuing (Issuing; Viseca Card Services SA) and card acceptance and processing (Acquiring; Aduno SA). In 2014 it recorded sales of CHF 357 million, 6.7 per cent more than in the previous year. Business in Consumer Finance division with cashgate AG improved by 7.9 per cent to CHF 64 million. The remaining sales can be attributed to the central financing unit.
The volume of transactions in the Cards business increased by 7.9 per cent in 2014 to reach CHF 15 billion. About half was attributable to Issuing business and the other half to Acquiring business. At 11.4 per cent, this year’s business volume in Acquiring was considerably higher than the previous year’s. The factor driving growth in this context was mainly Debit business. It generated 17.1 per cent of the volume. This rise is largely attributable to a new addition to our clientèle, namely a leading trading company in Switzerland that has Aduno handle all card transactions. The Group can also trace its success to the new distribution approach introduced in 2014. It has had the intended effect.
Consumer Finance strengthens its market position
The Consumer Finance division with cashgate increased its new business by 4.7 per cent to CHF 818 million in 2014. The credit portfolio grew to CHF 1,268 million from CHF 1,199 million a year earlier. The personal credit segment did particularly well in the reporting period. The two-price model introduced in 2013 met with a positive reception among borrowers and partner banks. Overall, this led to a higher volume of new business (+7.6 per cent) and better quality in the credit portfolio.
Leasing posted an increase in new volume of 2.1 per cent to CHF 424 million in 2014. The portfolio was on a par with the previous year. After contracting last year, the leasing market saw a stabilisation in 2014. cashgate posted better growth than the overall market and expanded its market position. The integration of Revi-Leasing und Finanz AG in cashgate was completed during the reporting year. The two firms were acquired in 2012. Marketing is now conducted according to uniform criteria and the software previously used by Revi-Leasing has been replaced by the Group’s own system.
The Aduno Group reorganised its entire refinancing structure in financial year 2014. For one, it successfully floated two bonds on the capital market; for another, it concluded a syndicated loan. The two Swiss franc-denominated bonds mark the third successful issue by Aduno Holding on the capital market. That means the Group now has three outstanding bonds on the capital market with a face value of CHF 650 million. Conrad Auerbach, Chief Financial Officer of the Aduno Group: “We made use of the favourable interest situation in 2014 to secure our third-party loans up to 2019. The two new bonds were well-accepted by investors when issued and were able to be placed in no time at all. This is evidence of the trust that the Group has been able to build since its first issue on the capital market.”
The Aduno Group is an expert for payment processes and a master of technological interfaces thanks to its innovative power. That means it meets the prerequisites to benefit from the growing mobile payment segment. As a leader in innovation, the Aduno Group and its specialists have been at the forefront of development efforts for years. With Viseca and a cooperation partner, Swisscom; the Group introduced “Tapit” in mid-2014 as the first mobile payment solution in Switzerland. With a smartphone app, Viseca customers can order a mobile credit card and load it in their smartphones, where they can use and manage it securely. “Tapit” is just one of various mobile payment solutions based on different technology approaches that has been launched on the market. The Aduno Group is therefore conducting parallel evaluations and testing additional approaches, including a Cloud based one as part of a large-scale pilot project. In addition, Viseca is working with other card issuers to push a joint digital wallet up to Swiss standards. The solution guarantees not only global acceptance and a high degree of security, but is also subject to Swiss law and Swiss data protection guidelines. Martin Huldi, CEO of the Aduno Group: “We closely observe the market and are convinced there are myriad innovations in store for us in this area. Our focus is mostly on cross-sector solutions that are customer friendly and convenient. However, we guard against premature decisions and announcements.”
Takeover of EuroKaution
As of November 2014, the Aduno Group acquired EuroKaution AG, which is active in the guarantee deposit business, and integrated it in the Payment division. Private and corporate customers can replace their rental deposit with a guarantee from EuroKaution, a company based in the Canton of Zurich, and use the money that is freed up for other purposes.
At the end of 2014 the ten business sites of Aduno Group had 695 employees (full-time equivalents), 33 more than at the end of 2013. Risk management was strengthened and project capacities were expanded. These improvements, in turn, led to higher personnel costs in the reporting year. Since its establishment, the Group has always had personnel growth and has created a large number of jobs, bucking the general trend in the financial sector.
The Aduno Group will further strengthen the part it plays as a leader of innovation in the payment and consumer finance sector. As a center of competence for cashless payment it also supports its partner banks on the road to a digital and mobile future. In 2015, the Group again expects support in these efforts from the market environment even though economic momentum is likely to decline. The trend toward card payment will persist, supported not least by digitalisation and the more favourable conditions for traders following the reduction of the interchange fee for MasterCard® and Visa credit cards. The trade sector will probably pass all or part of this to the consumers. The surcharges for card payments, which are mainly customary in online commerce, will also be eliminated. The scrapping of the euro floor and planned political intervention in the personal credit market give reason for uncertainty, but the Aduno Group remains optimistic overall about the current year.
The complete online annual report 2014 is posted at: https://annualreport.aduno-gruppe.ch